Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wintry Sunday

I had a rare Sunday off today. It's really weird to be on "vacation" but still at home. I enjoyed sleeping in and waking up to enjoy some coffee and the morning paper. We worshipped at Christ's Church at Georgetown today. I enjoyed hearing my friend Chris Steele preach.

I wonder if other preachers struggle with being able to concentrate on the service when they are visiting another church. While worshipping, I find myself thinking things like, "I wonder where I can get that cool PowerPoint background" or "How can we get our lights to do that?" or "A fiddle would sound great in our praise band" or "we need to copy this thing that they have in their bulletin." Anyone?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Weekend Off

I have the weekend off. We aren't doing anything particularly special. Just hanging out together. Probably will get some of the Christmas decorations out. Spent some time today raking leaves. I hope to finish the job tomorrow. Have a great weekend everybody!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Holiday Mania

Hey Christians, how 'bout we do something different this year and not freak out about merchants saying "Happy Holidays" instead "Merry Christmas"? I started thinking about it while preparing to teach a Bible School class tomorrow. We've been talking about issues over which Christians disagree (alcohol, role of women in the church, tattoos and other cultural things, etc). My topic is holidays. You know, that whole pagan origins thing. A couple of key Scriptures that I will use are Romans 14:1-8 and Colossians 2:16-3:4.

One of the problems with the line of thinking that says, "You can't celebrate or participate in anything which has evil origins" (even if nobody but fanatical Christians remember what those origins are) is that it is impossible to be consistent. Are we going to start calling the days of the week by alternate names (they are based on pagan gods)? And the same guy who would never go to a Maundy Thursday service (too Catholic or denominational) has no problem celebrating the Christ-Mass.

But I digress... For the past few years, some Christians have freaked out because retailers are using the phrase "Happy Holidays" (there's no mention of Christ you know). Let's think about this:

1. They are trying to sell merchandise.

2. "Happy Holidays" includes several holidays for a diverse shopping crowd, including Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

3. If we are not sharing the name of Christ during the other 11 months of the year, let's not gripe about other people (MOST OF WHOM ARE NOT EVEN CHRISTIAN) who don't do it.

Chill out folks. And Happy Holidays to you!

P.S. I started to post this when I suddenly realized that it sounded familiar. I checked the archives and found that I did a similar rant a couple of years ago. Oh well.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Catalyst One Day

The Catalyst event at Granger was awesome. I was so thrilled to have most of my staff and several elders with me today. Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel are excellent communicators.We were challenged and convicted, and we left excited about ministry.
Some take-aways:

If you don't know what is causing your momentum, you are only one
stupid decision away from killing it.
I said, "God, do something in our church. And God, 'that's why you're there.' I mean, who built the ark?" (God worked through a person).
Do anything short of sin to connect people to Christ.

Mark Waltz put some great notes on his blog (scroll down past his anniversary post).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Snowy Message

Roger Cook leads our grounds ministry at The Creek. He has mowed a message into a little ridge on the edge of our property. The message really stood out this morning after a little dusting of snow.

Real Men of Jesus - Mr. Really Really Really Long Prayer

A Little Cheesiness

Jon over at Stuff Christians Like had a post about re-claiming 80's songs for Christ. It reminded me of some stuff we did at church camp. We re-worked some songs that were popular at the time (it seems so cheesy now, but back then we were amazed at our own awesomeness):

Born (Again) in the USA
Born again in the USA
(I was) Born again in the USA
When Jesus Christ washed my sins away
(I was) Born again in the USA

Karma Chameleon (I am not making this up)
Become a (come a come a come a) come a Christ-ian (in the Church of Christ or the Christian Church)
Your sins will be forgiven when you become a Christian
So come, let's go, c'mon let's go

WHAT were we thinking?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Catalyst One Day Promo

Steve Fee - All Because Of Jesus

Going to the One Day Catalyst at Granger on Thursday. Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel, with Steve Fee leading worship. It's going to be great.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sunday Preview

I'm excited about the message I'm going to preach on Sunday. I'm in a series called Down to the Core (based on Acts 2:42). I'll be preaching about fellowship this week. I learned some new things about this important topic. I can't wait to share it at The Creek.
Fellowship -- Why is It Important?
Because of the danger of isolation
Because of the joy of celebration
Because of the power of consecration
Because of the impact of inspiration

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Preach the Word

Currently I'm preaching a sermon series called "Down to the Core" based on Acts 2:42. Tomorrow I will be talking about the apostles' doctrine. My friend Dave Willis posted this reminder on his blog. Thanks bro!
Phil Johnson wrote: "That’s why preachers ought to preach the Word instead of telling stories and doing comedy. That’s where the power for ministry resides: in the Word. It’s not in our cleverness or our oratorical skills. The power is in the Word of God. And our task is simple: all we have to do is make the Bible’s meaning plain, proclaim it with accuracy and clarity. And the Spirit of God uses His Word to transform lives. The power is in the Word, not in any technique or program."

Sometimes I'm tempted to trust my own cleverness, wit or skill and I need to be reminded to keep the Word central. I sure I'm not alone in this regard. Maybe you need this reminder too.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Day After

This morning I prayed for President-elect Obama and for our country. I was disappointed in the outcome of the election, but I am encouraged that these things are still true:
1. God is sovereign and still on His throne.
2. The local church is the hope of the world.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sunday at Cedar Creek

God showed up in an amazing way at The Creek this morning. We had Dean Trune as our guest for a Going Deeper with God weekend. Last night Dean taught about developing spiritual roots, and journaling. Today he taught during Bible School about spiritual warfare. During the worship service he preached about prayer. At the end he offered an invitation for anyone who would purpose in their hearts to become more committed to prayer. Dozens of people came forward in the first service! It was incredible. Then God did it again in the second service! Clearly, the Holy Spirit was at work. I was so excited to see so many people expressing a desire to get more serious about their faith and their walk with the Lord. 95 people made a public commitment. Wow! I can’t wait to see what God is going to do in the lives of His people and His church.